Economy - Page 3

Do descendants of Soviet, Czech and Chinese communists form a criminal gang?


However, it is just the beginning of a long list of questions, their answers are worthy of a detective story. What is the decades-long historical between connecting Russian, Czech, Canadian, Chinese and even American financial institutions? What is the relationship between the Czech J&T Bank, the Russian BankhausErbe and the Sun Trust Bank, which participated in setting up a safe haven for illegally acquired money of Russian officials? And what has Andrei Kulakov, a modest Russian-born Canadian resident, to do with all this?

The scam of the double sale of the Russian Bankbank Bank Erbe to various customers has literally opened the Pandora’s box. By itself, this action is criminal. But, as is often the case in detectives, a whole criminal syndicate follows one thread of a crime, covering a large-scale scheme for legalizing the funds of top Russian officials, who are kept in a US bank under the control of a Canadian resident.

Russian Bankhaus Erbe outwardly looked like a respectable boutique bank with an impeccable reputation that allowed it to have European and even American accounts, which is rare for Russian banks, even large ones. On the inside, it turned out to be a structure that covered up corruption transactions of top Russian officials. The real scheme of the bank’s operations and the family contract of its owners, the Romanov family, was unsophisticated and worked for years. The legal, declared incomes of high-ranking officials of the judicial system of Russia, the prosecutor’s office, the investigating authorities, and the Accounts Chamber, as well as their immediate relatives, were placed on deposits at Bankhaus Erbe. Despite strict anti-corruption legislation and an unequivocal ban on placing funds on correspondent accounts of foreign banks, this money continues to be kept on correspondent accounts in European and American banks, with little or no profit.

What is the point for Russian high-ranking officials to keep well-earned tens of millions of dollars in a US bank and US currency? Why does the Sun Trust Bank, known for its selective approach to partner selection, work with a tiny boutique bank in Russia? The answer is just as simple and logical: because that is just the sliver of the full scope. The real business of the Romanovs’ family criminal gang consisted in the bank ensuring the cashout of huge sums belonging to the Russian political elite and the owners of the bank beyond the realm of Russian jurisdiction. Canada was among the destination countries, where these funds are received by the inconspicuous resident Andrei Kulakov, the son of Mrs. Romanova, a long-term participant in the development and creation of BanghusErbe.

Yes, this bank scheme requires silence. Unfortunately, the years of impunity and age have both taken their toll. The mastermind and ideologist of the scheme, Ms. Romanova, retired and decided to make money by selling one bank twice.

According to our sources and obtained documents, Valentina Romanova bamboozled out of the Russian businessman Pavel Komissarov USD 13.7 million by selling him the shares of the Russian bank Bankhaus Erbe.

Komissarov versed funds for the Liechtenstein-based company MENAL FOUNDATION (nominal owner of a 59% stake in the bank) in September 2017. But the re-registration of ownership rights of the new shareholder never happened. Instead, Valentina Romanova sold her bank once again, this time to the Czech J&T Bank. Was the head of the bank, Mr. Shvets informed that it wasn’t the first time that the bank he was aiming to buy, was not sold? Did he know, as well as the bank’s other shareholders, who vetted the deal, that the transaction is resulting from such fraud money will automatically fall under the regulations of FATF, an intergovernmental organization combating money laundering?

Apparently, this story began in Soviet times. We suspect these were the times when a former member of the Politburo of the CPSU Grigory Romanov got in touch with his Czech counterpart Josef Sweden. It appears that in those years there could be some kind of relationship with Chinese communism campaigners.

Today Romanov’s daughter Valentina created a business scheme based on cross-border financial flows are not without the contribution of the Czech bank. One of its top managers is Vasil Sweden – son Josef Sweden. She went on to expand the scheme by selling a so-called “financial product” to her Czech companions. This time completely.

We do not know, whose children are the citizens of China Veychzhun Su, Li Yong, ZanDzhanyun Zheng Syunbin and Juan Miadzhong jointly owing 10% of the Czech and Slovak financial group, which employs Mr. Shvets. But this is not relevant.

And what about Mr. Komissarov? After all, a double sale of a bank represents an existential threat to the reputation of a respectable “boutique bank”. Sources close to the deal say that his refusal to continue the “real” business of the Romanov family became his sentence. But the Czech management was interested in risky, but high-profit transactions. It is not known, however, what’s the attitude of the shareholders of the Czech bank to the new operations’ scheme.

As a result, the parties reached a unique, unprincipled agreement: Romanova sells J&T Bank for a reasonable price, and Czech bank turn a blind eye on another buyer, who almost completely paid the price for the bank. By law, the Czech bank was not allowed to close the transaction before settling this issue. According to sources, Romanova guaranteed to her new partners that there would be no problems with a naive buyer – her contacts in Russia would even allow to jail him.

And it was a strategic mistake. Komissarov refused to be burned by the launderers of the former prosecutor’s money. Despite the threats, he began his quest for justice. He was helped by a massive anti-corruption campaign in Russia, which judging by the well-being of the Bankhaus Erbe is not very efficient, however, such a blatant case of insolent fraud would lead Romanov and his family to a criminal case, as well as expose high-ranking clients of the bank. With regard to the Canadian part of the criminal group, in North America and Europe, the law and public opinion far outweigh any familiarity and family ties. The efforts of the Russian businessman Komissarov to fight for his rights and money not only in Russian but also in European courts will lead to the abolition of the “Russian financial jungle laws”, allowing such egregious cases of fraud.

The feeling of complete impunity for one Russian family, which for decades violated the law, taking advantage of its proximity to the top political elite of the country, led to a downhill of the criminal financial system, mass revelations, new criminal cases, and lawsuits. A rare case for such fraudulent schemes and a less unusual story for impudent financial “hoes” – this story is detailed by numerous and indisputable evidence: the fact of Komissarov’s transaction, payment, transactions on accounts and correspondent accounts at Bankhaus Erbe, “activity” of Kulakov in North America, family “links”, the presence of accounts of officials in the bank, etc.

This is a rare case when the interests of Western democracy coincide with the interests of Russian law enforcement agencies and members of the Romanov organized criminal group, as a close-knit family will gather at a Russian detention facility awaiting for the extradited Canadian agent Kulakov to join them.

After all, he the son of Mrs. Romanova, modestly living in Canada, will have to prove the lawful origin of large sums that, with the potential mediation of the Czech financial structure, were transferred to him by his mother. And if these funds will be frozen on accounts in Canada, then both the son and the mother will have to prove the legitimacy of the performed transaction. And it will be a very tough task since Romanova never informed the Central Bank about the sale of the bank to Komissarov and the named transaction was actually canceled.

Kulakov will have to answer whether when opening his Canadian accounts he declared, that he falls under the special requirements of politically exposed person supervision. Pretty sure, he did not.

And Kulakov will have to bet on how quickly local law enforcement agencies will turn onto him after the discovery that a huge Russian money laundering scheme flourished in the quiet and prosperous Canada.

Welcome to Erbe Gate!

How to Choose the Best Merchant Service Provider

Merchant service is crucial for any business. This is because it ensures that one can’t only pay employees with ease, but also guarantees that utilities will be paid promptly. Apart from these, a critical advantage of a merchant solution is that it makes it easy for customers who are paying for the goods or services you offer. Technological advancement has created a huge room for competition. To match consumers’ expectations, you must also be apt with the quick technological changes. Gone are the days where businesses would only allow cash payments. If you’re wondering what a merchant service is, in simple terms, it’s a payment system that allows for electronic payments.

Some of the most common merchant services include credit cards and debit cards. A merchant service provider will, therefore, ensure that you receive your payment when a consumer pays using their debit or credit cards. You’ve probably been approached by many merchant service-providing companies with different deals that may sound too good to be true. You need to exercise a bit of care when choosing a merchant service provider because scammers might approach you.

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This article will guide you in choosing the best merchant service to suit your online payment solutions.

Starting a business comes with numerous risks. As an entrepreneur, one must always be ready for the risks that come with opening up a business. This guidelines, however, will enable you to get a risk-free payment solution. Here’s a list:

Find a merchant provider with a good track record

Before settling on a merchant provider, it’s important to conduct thorough investigations. You might want to check if there have been complaints about the services offered. If there have been numerous complaints, then it would be risky to let them handle your payment solutions.

Check how long they have been in business

Is the business well-established? Experience is essential. The more the years they have been in business, the more trustworthy the company is. This, however, doesn’t mean the new companies won’t offer better services.

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Check their customer service hours

The company should be able to offer a 24-hour service. This will give the consumers the needed satisfaction. You should definitely consider companies that provide a toll-free customer service number.

Check their service rates

Assessing the rates each service provider offers will also prevent you from getting duped. Go for a company that has affordable rates. Be cautious of providers that have very low rates. Chances are the rates will go too high in the future.

Compare the different services offered by different companies

After investigating, you must have come up with a list of companies that caught your eye. Now, you have to compare them against each other to come up with the best service providers. Find a company with an A+ customer rating.

Finally, to recommend a service provider, Powercash 21 is offering innovative and safe merchant solutions. Check them out.

How to Achieve Financial Independence Easily?

The definition of financial independence will vary from person to person. But being able to live life comfortably and having no debt on the head can be the general definition of being financially independent.

Sometimes, it takes a lot to become financially independent. But the truth is not the same.

To be financially independent, all you need is a PLAN. Something that has worked for someone else will not surely work for you.

You need to have your plan and strategy to achieve financial independence.

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So if you are also looking to achieve financial independence, then this post will help you. Achieving financial independence is a step by step game.

And by going through the steps described below. It won’t take you a while to become financially independent.

Let us look at all of the steps one by one in brief.

5 Steps to Achieve Financial Independence

Monitor your Income and Spending

The very first thing what you need to start doing is to monitor your income and spending. Now, for most of the times, you already know your income and it becomes really hard to invest in certain assets, and My Investment Blog suggests Fast Invest that becomes easy for managing your expenses and investment out of the savings.

But the real challenge you face is monitoring your expense. And that’s what you need to conquer first.

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You need to start tracking your spending. So that when you see the sheet at the end of the month you should know where you spent the money.

Once you start practicing this thing, you will see changes with time. And after a few months, you will be left with more money in your pocket at the end of the month.

Start Budgeting

Now once you already know, the inflow and outflow of your money. It’s time to start creating a budget for your monthly spending.
Budgeting is a must. Believe it or not, all the rich do this practice. They plan a budget before the month even starts.

And therefore, you should too start this practice as soon as possible. Now you may be having different budgets for different things.
For example, you can have a Grocery budget, Entertainment budget, and Traveling budget.

Invest to achieve financial freedom

It’s time you start investing your saved money. This is one of the most important steps of all. You cannot achieve financial independence until and unless you start investing. Now, you can read My Investment Blog, to read and learn more about investing because it is one of the best investment blogs for beginners.

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To become a good investor, you will have to read a lot. And once you get a good understanding of the game of investment.

You should start investing. Because until and unless you do it, you don’t know whether it will work for you or not.

Always know what you want

As discussed above, the definition of financial independence depends and varies from person to person.

Therefore, you should define your own financial independence goal very clearly because you can’t be, what you can’t see.

Once you know what you need, you can aim and work to get that thing. Also, to this, you should also gain knowledge about the tax matters in your country.

Otherwise, you can get into serious trouble with the law. Therefore, along with gaining knowledge about the investment, you should also learn about the taxation laws.

Consider your Career

You cannot achieve financial independence until and unless you have money to fuel your savings and investment.

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And for most of you, your money might only be coming from your job’s salary. And therefore, leaving the job will not only put your career in danger.

But your goal to achieve financial independence might also land to risk.

Don’t quit your job, until and unless you have a steady income to fuel your investment goals.


I know not everyone is blessed with an inherited fortune. But trust me, with time and work you can achieve financial freedom.

The most important thing which you need to have in this journey of achieving financial freedom is Discipline.

Yes, discipline is one of the most important traits for becoming financially good. And all of the rich people have certain daily rituals related to finance which helps them to keep growing.

If you follow all these five steps then for sure you are going to achieve financial freedom in a concise time.

Shady activities under the roof of Europe’s freeports

One of the biggest scandals in Europe, the 200 billion euros money-laundering case at Denmark’s largest bank, has really shaken the EU. It seems impossible that the scandal as big as this one went undetected for so long allowing it to reach such staggering numbers. This is something that Věra Jourová, the European commissioner for justice, found shocking and has summoned ministers from Denmark and Estonia to help her get to the bottom of the case.

The laundering of Russian, Azerbaijan and some other countries’ money has been taking place at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, which is Denmark’s largest bank. European Union responded to this scandal by introducing even tighter policies in order to fight money laundering in Europe. These policies are mostly targeting banking system, but recently freeports –  a type of tax-free zones in which luxury items such as fine arts, rare wines, classic cars, etc., are stored – were put under the spotlight as well.

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MEPs on a special European Parliament committee on financial crime and tax evasion found freeports could enable money laundering because they circumvent the standard international rules on transparency. De facto, freeports are offshore bank accounts for hard assets and valuables; they allow to keep anonymity behind the shell companies and execute financial transactions with almost no traces. MEPs even urged to close all freeports in EU.

On the top of that, Le Freeport Luxembourg has been recently found to be linked to individuals involved in the so-called “Azerbaijani laundromat,” a $3-billion money-laundering operation through UK shell companies for unknown Azerbaijan officials. Some of this money was used to pay lobbyists, buy influence and media in the EU.

Luxemburg Freeport CEO Phillipe Dauvergne, a former French customs top official, in 2008 – 2018 sit on board of at least dozen EU-based companies affiliated with an Azeri businessman.

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Khagani Bashirov. In his turn, Khagani Bashirov is a close associate of Jahangir Hajiev, former chairman of International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), and a key figure in Azerbaijani laundromat. Hajiev was sentenced to 15 years on charges of fraud, embezzlement, and misappropriation of public funds and his wife Zamira Hajieva became the first recipient of an unexplained wealth order under a new UK anti-corruption law. According to an investigation of Azerbaijan branch of US-funded RFE/RL, Bashirov’s companies were a big part of the laundromat and received at least $200 mln in loans from IBA which were never returned.

  1. Burke Files, the president of the American Anti-Corruption Institute in Tempe, Arizona, said that he’d seen the wire transfers of the Danske bank transactions. A certain amount of the Azeri money was paid for the strategic communications work in Washington, DC. However, the other part was used to bribe EU officials.

In 2016, questions about the illegal work at the Danske Bank started to arise. Stories about the bribes offered to the members of PACE, the Parliamentary Assembly’s Council of Europe, were making rounds arousing suspicion, but no evidence of foul play was found. The bribes, including prostitutes, cars, and vacations, were offered for the PACE members to keep quiet about the Azerbaijan business and give the country positive reviews on the human rights record.

If all of this weren’t suspicious enough, in 2017, Luca Volonte, the Italian member of European Parliament, was under investigation as it was suspected that he was accepting a bribe, over 2 million euros to be exact, from Azerbaijan. The funds mainly came through the British company Hilux Services LLP and its account in an Estonian bank, from Baktelekom MMC which is a company lead by a businessman that was linked to the first family of Azerbaijan.
Further investigation led to the belief that the scheme could be, in fact, much bigger than the Volonte case.

In 2017, Spanish MEP Pedro Agramunt left the office once the group of three retired European judges proclaimed him negligent regarding the Azerbaijan scandal. Next, to Agramut, two other Spanish MEPs were also mentioned by the commission report, but the cases were nevertheless dropped by the end of the year.

Apparently, freeports are contributing to some €100 billion laundered each year in EU, and European watchdogs should tackle them. The question is will there be enough political will to phase them out?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, might be greener than we think

The hush over the so-called energy demands of cryptocurrencies is an issue of concern. However, the real cost of mining could be less draining on the environment than earlier expressed.

We live in a world where being environment-friendly (going green) is constantly praised as an ideal. Having accepted the need to preserve our environment, we expect any emerging technologies to adapt to this reality.

Bitcoin and the altcoins have been analyzed endlessly from this standpoint. While our de facto financial systems aren’t often studied and changes rarely demanded, society expects crypto to be better. Whether out of genuine concern or an agenda doesn’t matter – the battle cry is saving the environment.

Now, it’s easy to think of tokens and coins to be less green than fiat currency. After all, bills don’t consume electricity. They don’t require servers to run 24/7. They don’t need to contact anywhere for authentication. There’s absolutely no carbon footprint to buying a pint of beer at a local bar with cash, or is there?

There is.

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Money Costs Money

It is easy to put bitcoin on the radar because it is still in its early days, while the effect of fiat currencies is not even evaluated. However, both payment methods actually leave a footprint, and this is factual.

These payment forms are truly impacting the environment, as this has been studied at length. Fiat legal tender has actual production costs – that is, every single bill or coin produced comes at a cost. There’s the material cost (i.e., the bill itself,) production costs (cutting, printing, etc.,) and transport costs.

On top of this, physical money has a lifespan. Bills don’t last forever, and in fact, lower-denomination bills tend to last much less than higher-denomination ones. Bills need to be rotated – that is, new ones printed, and old ones removed from the economy – regularly.

Old bills are usually pulped and incinerated, adding to the carbon footprint of fiat.

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And then, since in most cases bills cost much less to produce than their actual value, inflation happens. Materials and other inputs for each dollar cost much less than a dollar, and value appears out of nowhere.

Inflation has been hailed by many economists as a necessary factor in the economy. A  common argument states that inflation promotes spending, and spending promotes economic growth. This assumes that if money didn’t lose its value over time, people would hoard it rather than spend it. While this is true in cases of deflation, whether inflation is any good can be doubted.

There are other costs in our current-day economy we often ignore. For example, banks need to keep servers running 24/7, which comes at an energy cost. Just as well, ATMs run permanently and contain enough mechanical pieces to make their energy footprint visible.

In truth, the sole cost of maintaining our fiat economy is far bigger than most people believe. On the other hand, bitcoin trading has grown in leaps and bounds without a need for a huge infrastructure to be in place. By running on its blockchain, the existing capacity of linked computers is put to use.

The digital token as a fix

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Although it might surprise some opponents of digital tokens, blockchain has been proposed as a solution to the woes of the fiat settlement system. While the mining of digital legal tender might be huge in impact, it has overall lesser costs than fiat. Bitcoin value today is in excess of it’s listing price years ago, check CoinReview for current Bitcoin Value.

Operating costs of properly developed tokens or digital coins are small in comparison to production and maintenance costs for the fiat alternative. Moreover, the altcoins come with enforced transparency. This makes it easier to judge their health, while also making it possible for external actors to audit them.

In truth, there are two big reasons why some naysayers say XRP and the likes can’t make it to the mainstream. Both of them, however, depending on interpretation. When somebody says the leading blockchain tokens aren’t green, they often show you only a part of the picture to make this statement.

Looking at the big picture, however, can reveal a reality that’s very different from what we’re being told.

Mining uses more electricity than small countries

This is the most common criticism of minable coins and tokens. Whether it’s correct or not can be argued, an article from reputable sources has appeared on both sides. Still, it can’t be denied that the mining process, as it is, wastes huge amounts of energy.

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While mining does not necessarily define the emergence or creation of all digital payment solutions, some are not minable, and others avoid it. So, the argument against the electricity consumption aspect will only refer to the proof-of-work driven tokens. Those that adopt the proof-of-stake or alternative algorithm have lower energy consumption thresholds.

Lack of inflation will lead to stagnation

Since cryptocurrencies can’t be printed out of thin air to hide fiscal deficit, they don’t suffer inflation. In fact, all cryptocurrencies have a cap on how many units of said currency can exist at any given time.

This has led to naysayers stating they can’t work. They say people only spend money because of inflation. They also say spending creates a healthy economy.

The problem is, spending for the sake of spending is hardly green. Consumerism has been considered a threat to the environment as far back as 2004. More recent studies have upheld these beliefs. Every single thing we buy, after all, leaves a carbon footprint.

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Being forced to constantly buy things because of inflation means buying more – which in turn means a higher carbon footprint. Perhaps, then, having a payment option that does not push us towards spending is a good thing. For example, with the bitcoin lightning network today, you can use your token balances when you want with no need to convert to fiat.

Looking Ahead

It’s still early to tell whether the altcoins and their ilk will remain green across the board. Blockchain has shown to be an amazingly malleable technology. At some point, companies known for damaging our environment, such as oil companies, might want to use it.  The impact might yet be less environmental degradation, and this will be laudable.

As it is, the fact is that cryptocurrencies are, in general terms, greener than fiat currencies. Due to the physical, manufactured nature of fiat, and the inevitable inflation it carries, that’s not likely to change. Digital banking is the future of our economy, and the tokens and coins are here to drive it.

Accounting best practices – Why accountants are your best tax agents


How good are you with numbers? How much do you understand about numbers? Numbers are nothing but finances. And in any sort of business, you are into whether it is small or big numbers are critical. When you have your finances in place, you know you are doing right in your business. Who can help you with your finances in your business like filing tax, GST and many more? It’s none other than your accountants who are your best tax agents. But before going into the reasoning why they are important for your or any business lets to know what the accounting best practices available are.

  1. Accounting Methods – there are two types of method one is accrual and another is cash accounting.
  2. Maintain your balance sheet which will keep an account of your expenses and income that you have incurred or received the whole year. Even you can maintain this half yearly, quarterly or monthly basis.
  3. Account receivable should be limited.
  4. Accurate records are important to maintain your balance sheet and also keep in mind to have your personal and business finances separate.
  5. Always keep a back up of your financial records.
  6. File GST on time and IT file so that you don’t fall into any financial inquiry. Always keep a back up of your financial records.

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These are the best practices that you should maintain when you are into business. Controlling your finances will help you control your business and help it grow.

Now to do all these things you need someone to take care. Hire accountants, they are your best tax agents; works as your accountant and helps you to control your finances and business. They will help you file your taxes on time, suggest you how you can save your money or taxes and many more. Let’s see why they are important for your business:

  1. With the increase and growth of your business, there will be difficulty in managing your asset due to an increase in an asset with time. They are capable of looking at your business finances in a different way than all other employees. They not only maintain your balance sheet but also provide you with an idea of how to save your earnings.
  2. We have the latest trends in the place of bookkeeping which is a vast difference in comparison with the latest technology. An accountant is capable of dealing with or working on these latest trends in accounting efficiently. An accountant helps you reap the best return of accounting technology.
  3. There are two options in accounting while filing tax, either you do it by yourself who is time-consuming or secondly you hire an accountant with knowledge of tax breakups and let him handle your company’s tax evaluation. He will help you gain the best value claim reward while filing taxes. They have a good knowledge of the tax breakups and discount slabs.

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  4. As a business owner, you will want to focus on your business expansion and generate more profitable business. The thing which you will not want at this time to handle your own accounts. Dealing with own accounts can be stressful and even you lose focus on your business and face loses. This is the last thing you will want. Therefore hiring an accountant can be a boom for you and your business.
  5. Even hiring an accountant can be a boom for you. Due to their vast experience in similar kind of industries they can help you with your future projects and devise a better plan for a better return. They can help you with the knowledge of loss and gain that you will have from the business. So, that you can invest in the business accordingly.

These are the couple of points which can help you solve your query that why an accountant is best for you. Do not delay and start hiring.

Can I Get A Mortgage With Bad Credit?

Sometimes, financial problems catch you out and before you know it, you have bad credit.  This might be missed payments, overdue amounts or even defaults. Sometimes the problem has escalated, and you are on a debt management plan or even had a CCJ.  So can you get a mortgage with bad credit?

What is bad credit?

Bad credit is a general term that relates to your credit record, an electronic document that contains all of your financial histories.  Lenders can view it if you are applying for a loan, credit card or a mortgage. If your credit record contains too many debt problems, you are termed as having bad credit.

However, this doesn’t mean that getting a mortgage is impossible.  According to Family Money, there are lots of different lenders out there and a good number of them will consider different bad credit situations to help you get a mortgage. Also, there are multiple ways in which you can get a mortgage. 

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Bad credit mortgage basics

It is worth knowing that you will find the number of lenders available with bad credit to be lower than with good credit.  High street banks, for example, often don’t offer their products to people with bad credit. But there are also plenty of lenders who will consider different situations.

It is also worth noting that you might find you don’t get the lowest interest rate available.  Again, that’s because the lowest rates tend to go to the good credit record people. But over time, you can repair your credit record and remortgage to get a better rate.

You may need a higher than average deposit for some lenders.  The minimum deposit, in general, is 5% as lenders can no longer offer a 100% mortgage.  But if you have bad credit, the lender may want 10-15% deposit to help make the risk better for them.

Finding a bad credit mortgage

One of the easiest ways to find a bad credit mortgage is to work with a broker.  These are experts who deal with a whole range of mortgage lenders and know which ones will consider what situations.  This will save you a lot of time and heartache asking lenders if they will help, only to have them turn you down. A broker will know which lenders will consider your situation and can approach them first.

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It is also worth remembering that there are costs involved with getting a mortgage that you need to account for.  Some brokers may charge a fee while others are paid by the lender – they will tell you how this works when they first talk to you.  There may also be a fee to set up the mortgage but again, they will tell you about this at the start, so you understand.

Don’t forget if you are moving house, there are costs such as removals men as well as the cost of solicitors to draw up the paperwork and a surveyor may be needed to inspect the house.  So make sure you have a plan to cover these costs before you start looking at mortgages.

Improving your credit record

If you still find you can’t get a mortgage or can’t afford the payments due to higher interest, it might be worth taking some time to improve your credit record before trying again.  The key to doing this is to keep on top of your borrowing. Payments need to be made on time and you need to stay within any credit limits or overdrafts.

Avoid applying for too much credit and make sure you keep up to date with anything you already have.  Each payment made for existing credit that is on time and in full helps to build that credit score!

Apple’s New Credit Card – A Revolution in Banking?


Fintechs have been trying for years to relegate banks to mere infrastructure companies, but so far had little success. The reason for this was that they were just too small to have a decisive impact on the sector. That is why banks were closely monitoring Amazon, which is big enough to cause them trouble. While they were doing that, Apple quietly pulled a coup.

In association with Goldman Sachs, the tech giant has taken advantage of all the weakness of the current system in order to create its own. Backed up with the most loyal customer base in the world, it launched a product that has been a sole purview of banks until now.

“Apple is not a small finch,” says David Murphy, SVP EMEA & APAC Banking Lead, Publicis Sapient. “They can put pressure on pricing and steal significant share.”

That is why the launch of the Apple card got more attention than all fintech news in the last few years combined.

Apple has been built on innovation and is the original fintech company. Everything they do comes with a hefty dose of innovation and change and their card will be the same.

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“Apple has re-engineered everything we have come to know about the entire [credit card] experience,” says analyst Brian Roemmele.
Apple saw a chance to completely rehaul and rethink the card experience and they jumped on it, but it would seem their plans don’t end there. They do have some other, bigger ambitions in their sleeve.

“Everyone’s looking at this and comparing credit card to credit card,” Forrester Research Principal Analyst Alyson Clarke states. “It’s not about that. It’s the start of a relationship and a very different way of banking — digital from the ground up. It’s more secure and it’s about helping you improve your financial position. I completely expect to see Goldman and Apple extend this relationship into a day-to-day banking product where you can put your salary and pay your bills with a savings product. That should scare a lot of banks including a lot of the digital banks.”

Issued by Goldman Sachs, Apple Card will be on market this summer. It is a virtual card that will run on Mastercard network and it can be used online, in apps and in all stores that accept Apple Pay, which is 70% of all stores in the United States, according to Apple.

It will also double as a financial coach, drawing from success Apple had with its Health app. It will encourage customers to pay less interest and provides them with a better understanding of long-term cost. It will also give them weekly and monthly summaries on their spending, with categories for each payment. The card won’t have a minimum payment and it will be based on a monthly cycle.



Apple card will have a 2% cash back on every transaction, which is about the average cash reward. Payments made directly to Apple will have a 3% cash back. Instead of giving huge cash rewards, Apple and Goldman Sachs decided to give their customers something called Daily Cash. This reward is paid directly to Apple Wallet and can be used to reduce the card balance or for purchase. You can even send it someone via Apple Pay Cash. This is a unique feature no other card is offering. “No one pays daily cash rewards that are instantly redeemable,” Richard Crone said in a LinkedIn blog.

Apple has paid special attention to security. The use of the card is authenticated by facial ID or fingerprint. Apple doesn’t get to see transaction details since all of them are happening on the phone and not on company servers. Both Apple and Goldman Sachs have committed to not selling cardholders’ data to anyone. In today’s day and age, this is something many customers will find appealing.

In line with its branding strategy and product design, Apple has achieved that a simple credit card looks breathtaking. It’s sleek and minimalistic design reflects the Apple brand perfectly. It is made of titanium, with laser-etched user’s name and Apple logo. The physical card will be used wherever Apple Pay is not yet accepted, which won’t be many places. The metal card probably won’t be free, but many would gladly pay to have it and flash it around.